SI.com's Zach Lowe just broke a story that details how the NBA and its players met on Friday in an attempt to end the lockout that has been in place over the last two weeks. Fantastic news.
Also, it should be pointed out that it was just NBA representatives and players' union reps that met, and hardly the big swingers on either side of the table. And all they really did was get together to discuss, if not actually agree upon, a new meeting date to really for real-reals get together to discuss how they're going to resolve the differences that made it so the NBA thought locking out its players was a good idea. The next time the two sides will meet, more than likely, will be in late July or early August, according to SI.com.
If this sounds familiar in any way, it's because the last time the NBA locked out its players back in 1998 the next significant step resulted in an initial post-lockout meeting that took place in early August, over a month after the lockout began. The NBA and its players then didn't come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement until the first week of January in 1999. There is precedent here, sadly.
Also included in Lowe's post is a reminder that, despite its reported losses of over $370 million, the NBA still generated enough revenue last year to give its players the $160 million they were owed (the players were owed 57 percent of all Basketball Related Income) from an escrow account that the NBA fills up every year:
NBA.com broke the news earlier this week that the final revenues are expected to come in high enough that the players will receive all $160 million that had been withheld from their paychecks and placed in an escrow fund.
The league takes 8 percent from each player's paycheck and tosses it into that fund to make sure they it doesn't overpay the players beyond that 57 percent level. If it turns out the players receive too little money without the escrow cash, as will reportedly be the case this season, the owners give some or all of that money back. If revenues are lower and the amount the players have already received exceeds 57 percent of revenues, the league keeps some or all the escrow money.
So, as you'd expect, neither side is telling the truth, neither side is budging in any significant way, and neither side is going to deign to meet the other until it is way too late.